As we’ve discovered, draughts are one of the major causes of thermal discomfort in Victorian community buildings. They’re leaky places, originally designed for really good ventilation, and haven’t improved over the years!
We’ve wanted to be able to measure the draughts properly for a long time, and especially to have a device to leave in place while a building warms up and cools down. Airflows are very dynamic when buildings aren’t in “steady state”, but there’s a catch-22. Steady state for these buildings is very costly to achieve. Oddly enough, the instrument we need doesn’t really exist. There are wand anemometers for measuring air speeds in heating and ventilation ducts, and there are devices for measuring wind speed, but nothing is designed for the relatively slow (but annoying!) airflows that occur in open spaces indoors.
Our goal here is, as usual, two-fold. Ideally, we want a public engagement instrument to help people think about their buildings, but we also want a proper, calibrated scientific instrument that we can use to do engineering research. And yes, that is a challenge! First step: building to this specification, but with a design that allows us to plug in different thermistors so we can check their responses in this application. We aren’t quite sure what the best choices are here, but we hope to find out.